Novak Djokovic Defaulted from U.S. Open After Hitting Line Judge from Owensboro
It was not just another day at the office for Laura Clark of Owensboro. Laura works as a line judge in professional tennis and was on court calling a match between world #1 Novak Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta. Djokovic, frustrated with his play, struck a ball that hit Laura in the throat. Video below.
Here's some additional coverage from ESPN's Twitter account:
According to tournament officials and mutual friends of ours, Laura is doing okay. She as able to walk off court on her own, but the fact that she was removed from the line judge rotation played into the decision to default Djokovic.
Djokovic's dismissal from the tournament leaves the draw wide open. Djokovic, who owns 17 Grand Slam titles (3rd on the all-time list) was heavily favored to win his 18th in New York City, which is essentially being played in a "bubble" due to the ongoing pandemic. But, now, the pursuit of his 18th crown will have to wait.
ESPN commentators praised the decision by tournament officials to default the former champ from the event. Commentator Brad Gilbert, as soon as the incident occurred, tweeted "Wow! Djoker just hit lines person. He is going to be defaulted."
And Brad was right. Though the tennis year has been shortened by COVID-19, Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year, the Western and Southern Championships last week and was undefeated on the year. His ejection from the match and tournament represents his only loss of the season.